Accompanied Or Unnacompanied - That Is The Question

So far I've been here right about 3 months. It's been a lot of fun, there is no shortage of things to do. Especially if you like to be outside. I'm still learning the ropes as to how everything works and meeting new people almost daily.

The biggest piece of advice I'd like to offer anyone thinking about coming out here though is this; if you are not single before you arrive, make sure your partner can definitely get a job or if you are married, don't come unless you can get an accompanied status, a house from the start and can bring your spouse out with you at the same time you arrive.

This is a tough place to be by yourself. It's very small. Even though you have lots of people around you at all times, it can still be lonely. And getting your partner here after the fact can be difficult depending on the circumstances.

For some reason, it seems it is more difficult to get a house and/or accompanied status once you are already on the island. I know of one person that has been here for many years that is getting married soon and they will have to continue living in the BQ's. Another gentleman came out in an accompanied status but couldn't bring his wife right away, he is now caught in an endless waiting cycle trying to get housing so he can get here out here. I have many examples but the part that is most confusing is that I also know of new people that have arrived on island since I've been here that have brought their non-working spouse and have gotten housing. I have no idea how they pulled that off.

So just be aware; housing is a problem out here and you should make sure in your negotiations that if you are in a relationship, you address that before you take a job here. Being stuck here while your significant other is halfway around the world is not a fun position to be in.


April Beer Can Race

This month's beer can sailboat race was delayed by a few weeks because of the Music Festival the first week and then Easter the following week. So it's been a month and a half since the last one and I was really ready to go sailing!

This time I was on Monte Junker's boat. Monte is the Commodore of the Yacht Club and has quite a large sailboat. We all got to pitch in and help get it set up...me not quite so much, it was only my second time out. I'm beginning to pick up on some terms but there is a LOT to sailing; especially racing.

I'm on the list to take sailing lessons. I can't wait.

Enjoy the pics:

Set up for fishing.


Exploring Roi Namur

This last weekend I went to Roi Namur for some new ground to explore. I’ve been there once before but it was a very quick trip for work and there is a lot to see on Roi as it’s called for short. There are only about 80 people that live there currently so it’s kind of a little getaway for Kwaj people. I enjoyed myself quite a bit; it was very relaxing.
Detail of a coconut tree
Detail of a coconut tree

There were 4 of us that went up together. The other 3 were divers so while they went off diving, I went exploring. I set out on foot with my camera, my bag of snacks and my book. There are WWII remnants all over the island. I got quite a few pictures but I can’t really tell you a whole lot about the history of them. One thing about the structures that’s so amazing is that you can tell that they have been bombed repeatedly and they are still standing. It’s incredible.

I explored beaches, and went swimming, I found cool little areas people have set up near the beaches, I stopped at the beachside bar. It’s kind of a bring your own kind of place, no one works there and there are no drinks to buy but it’s a pretty cool place to just hang out and watch the waves roll in. I spent time reading my book and overall just relaxing. It was nice.

After dinner I wandered by the outdoor theater, Madagascar 2 was playing and I watched some of it to kill some time until I met up with the others for evening drinks. It was a good time to get to know each other, visit, and talk about our day.

The next morning, we rented a cart and I got to see the rest of the island that I wasn’t able to cover the previous day. It was a very wet and rainy day but fun. We did the tour and then met up with several other Kwaj folks all waiting for the return plane back home.
Outdoor car wash

Originally we were going to sail to Roi but the weather didn’t cooperate for that. We still did what we had planned to do on Roi anyway, just minus the sailing. Hopefully another opportunity to sail will come up soon. I really enjoy it, what little I’ve done so far.


No Home to Go Back To

Well, I sold the house.

JF and I had discussed it extensively before I left and finally settle on renting it out and keeping it since the market was soft and we weren't sure what we were going to to do after Kwajalein. We figured that it would be good to at least have the option to have the house to come back to if nothing else or after two years or so it would at least be sellable at a decent price so we could profit off of it and move on.

What ended up happening was one of our friends started asking me questions about it and asked me how much I wanted for it and when I told him he said "Sold!". I'm not dumb and I figured if I did sell it I could sock away what I was making in payments and we'll still have a nice reserve for whatever we decide to do next.

Now that all of that is over I'm hoping we can get JF out here soon and we can enjoy this place together. I really like it but it would be so much better if he were here to enjoy it with me. He's been working hard to get the house ready for the sale and getting himself out of it. Now that that is done, hopefully we can find a job for him and we'll be together again. I'm very much looking forward to that.


Spring Music Festival

Yesterday was the Spring Music Festival here on Kwaj and it was a blast. Many of the locals showcased their talents on the stage and did a darn good job too. There was a chili cook off, a pulled pork cook off, there was a beer garden featuring 12 home brews and there were a couple of EXCELLENT beers. Yummy! There was beach volleyball and I think almost everyone on the entire island was there. It was a great time.

Artwork by Denise Dorn
This is the t-shirt design created by Denise Dorn here on the island.

I also got to meet a woman who just recently came to Kwaj after following my blog. It was fun to get to meet her finally. It seems that she is enjoying it as well.

Overall I really like it here. I think it's a good fit for me, I've been doing a lot and having a good time. I have some friends now so that makes it even easier. I still think it's not for everyone but if you think it's for you, do it. I'll see you here!


Experiencing The Natives

This weekend a group of us went over to Ebeye for a couple of hours to check it out and see what it was like. According to Wikipedia:
Ebeye is the most populous island of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, as well as the center for Marshallese culture in the Ralik Chain of the archipelago. Settled on only 80 acres (360,000 m²) of land, it has a population of more than 12,000. With crowded living conditions, an inadequate school system, and scarce clean water, Ebeye has been known by the unofficial and unfortunate title of "Slum of the Pacific."

It's pretty dirty. We walked around the whole island and then got on the boat and went back home. We got to experience a third world country in a few hours and then go home. It's the best of both worlds.
Here are some shots from the trip:

Boat in trashy water
Dirty little kids
Ebeye house
Police truck
The dump
Fish market